Matt Reeves is expected to recast Ben Affleck as the lead in his upcoming film, The Batman, according to the latest report. Affleck signed on for the role of the Caped Crusader back in 2013 for Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, an announcement that was met with a fair amount of vitriol from viewers. However, the Oscar-winner ultimately proved to be a strong fit for the part, winning a number of people over in his performances in both Dawn of Justice and this year's Justice League.
Despite earning raves for his new interpretation, there has been uncertainty surrounding Affleck's future in the burgeoning DC Extended Universe. Though producer Charles Roven had said Affleck was planning on starring in Reeves' solo venture, there has been mounting evidence suggesting the contrary. Just last month, Jake Gyllenhaal was reported as a possible replacement in the event Affleck left the franchise, and as it turns out, Warner Bros. is going to have to look for a new Dark Knight before Reeves begins rolling his cameras.
While Ben Affleck is expected to appear as Batman in a standalone Flash movie, it is highly unlikely he will don the cape and cowl in Matt Reeves’ planned standalone Batman movie. The director is said to want to cast the role with fresh talent, according to sources.
While this news will surely be disappointing to many, it isn't exactly the most surprising. Affleck has been conspicuously non-committal to The Batman since stepping down as director and writer of the project earlier this year. Though he has been supportive of Reeves as helmsman and expressed enthusiasm for playing the part this summer at San Diego Comic-Con, as recently as mid-November he said he was "contemplating" how long he wanted to stay locked into the role. Affleck mentioned he was searching for a "cool way to segue out of it," implying he was definitely thinking about the short-term. Reeves, it's worth remembering, has an idea for a full trilogy in mind, and odds are he would look for someone younger than the 45-year old Affleck to headline.
It will be interesting to see what ramifications this has on the DCEU as a whole. It's possible the new actor will portray the same version of the character Affleck started last year, though perhaps the filmmakers would be better off going in a fresh direction with a clean slate. It's obvious the current DC movie plan isn't connecting with casual audiences (and even die-hard fans), so everyone involved could be better-served with an all-out reboot that discards the previous movies. This would allow Reeves to work with creative leeway and hopefully reestablish goodwill with viewers.